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A Leading African Publisher Is Coming To The UK

The logo of Cassava Republic Press

I feel I should note here that this isn’t a sponsored post.

A couple of weeks ago I received a request to review books for a publisher I hadn’t heard of before. (This sentence has confirmed for me that the American way of dropping the ‘of’ between ‘couple’ and ‘weeks’ is something I can get behind.) I read the press release, found myself interested and, as is usual in these situations, went looking for more information. I have always been the person who takes hours to finish a computer game due to the need to explore the city in its entirety first.

I liked what I saw of the publisher and thought you might be interested yourselves. Around since 2006, the reason I and whoever else in Britain got a review request is that they’re about to launch in the UK.

Cassava Republic’s mission is to change the way the world thinks about African writing; they deem it time. The founder, Bibi Bakare-Yusuf, has said, “[We’re] establishing a base in the UK after nearly ten years in Africa rather than the reverse. This is the birthing of African publishing onto the world stage”.

Easy Motion Tourist

The hope that the Press will showcase the diversity of work by African writers – in this case mainly Nigerians – is bolstered by the variety of genres they publish: literary fiction, YA, and romance all feature in their catalogue.

As for the authors themselves, whilst all share Nigerian heritage by birth or law, not all live in Africa. Some, like Sarah Ladipo Manyika, whose book I’ll be reviewing, live elsewhere. Regardless of nationality, all the authors are celebrated writers, and that’s surely one of the most exciting aspects of this expansion.

Born On A Tuesday

One of them, Leye Adenle, has an extra claim to fame – his grandfather was a king. Adenle’s book, Easy Motion Tourist is a thriller, a story in which a British tourist comes across a body outside a club and is noted as a potential suspect. The story studies his time in custody and his subsequent release, looking at the darker aspects of the city of Lagos. Released the same day, Elnathan’s John’s Born On A Tuesday is about love, friendship, and politics in the midst of the most unstable period in recent Northern Nigerian history.

Like A Mule Bringing Ice Cream To The Sun

I chose the Manyika because I liked the sound of the main character – Like A Mule Bringing Ice Cream To The Sun is set in San Francisco, where the author teaches literature, and is about a 70-something Nigerian woman who, finding her independence dwindling, has to rely on the help of friends and strangers. Part of the story studies her sexuality, the feelings of an older woman. My thought when I read the description was that it sounded like Elizabeth Is Missing, just perhaps without the memory loss. I loved that book and it’s helped me to know how to proceed with family members and friends in a similar position. The thought of reading another book that tackles age-related issues is compelling. Fortunately there are many books on the later years at the moment, it’s a much needed trend, and I look forward to reading Manyika’s spin on it, the difference in culture compared to most others making it stand out in the pool of possibilities.

If you’re wondering, Cassava Republic is indeed one of houses to have published Chigozie Obioma’s The Fishermen, so whilst the UK launch is yet to commence, they’ve multi-award-nominated writing behind them already.

What are you favourite books set in Africa, Nigeria if you have one?


Jenny @ Reading the End

March 18, 2016, 1:35 am

This looks amazing! Oh, I can’t wait to read everything they publish. As for favorite books set in Nigeria, I have to be predictable and say, anything by Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie. Half of a Yellow Sun wrecked me, and Americanah is just a fan-damn-tastic book.


March 28, 2016, 8:39 pm

Jenny: It’s exciting, isn’t it? I’ve Adichie on my list, particular Americanah.



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